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Comments (63)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 26, 2020 - 1:02am

Brown 1000%

No general eds, gives you opportunities to try a bit of everything and change/add majors as you wish. I know a bunch of applied math/CS people here who break into IB but they still have the technical background for quant work if they wanted to do that. Add in the grade inflation we've got and it's a no-brainer imo

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 25, 2020 - 9:05pm

Path to IB will be much easier at Brown. If finances aren't a concern, Brown is the easy choice. If you're in-state at Berkeley and are fine with West Coast banking (and are confident in your abilities to get into Haas), I would consider Berkeley.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 25, 2020 - 10:04pm

yea def go to brown and take a bunch of useless classes while you major in some bullshit like "Germanic art history"

good luck tryna break into finance

  • Prospect in Other
Apr 25, 2020 - 10:22pm


The benefit of going somewhere like Brown is you can largely major in what you want and still get a role...

Apr 26, 2020 - 3:37pm

Makes sense. And how easy is becoming a quant out of Brown undergrad? Do you have any specific tips? Thanks

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 26, 2020 - 1:05am

Congratulations, you've just had one of the worst takes on this site

Apr 25, 2020 - 10:42pm

What program at Berkeley did you get into?

Most Helpful
Apr 26, 2020 - 1:23am

Is this for undergrad? I can give some insights about Berkeley anyway. (sorry I have no first-hand experience w/ Brown or NYU).

Cal is an AMAZING school. It's also brutally tough.

Amazing things about Cal: Top ranked programs in everything, and a huge campus with lots of options. Anything you want to learn, research, or participate in you can do there.
Every program on campus was ranked 1-3 globally when I was there. Computer science was #1, tied w/ MIT. Business at Haas was #1, tied with Wharton, etc. You have a big campus with an infinite amount of options and permutations. You can dual major in anything - CS+business, or business+econ, or whatever, datascience, life sciences, etc. Cal's got you covered.

Feel like exploring different career and life paths? Cal's got every option under the sun. If you want to explore real estate, there's a center for that. Tech leadership? There's multiple programs for that. There's open audit for most of campus so you can sit in on law, or whatever. Plus you can mix and match to suit your varied interests. ROTC, study abroad, every possible sport you want - all there. It's the benefit of a huge campus.

And reputation? Foggetabout it. Cal is the #1 public university in the world, bar none, ranked on par with the Ivies, and above even most of those.

The bad? Its'a HUGE school. You will need to navigate your own way among 35,000 students. Good luck. You are on your own. For those who do make it, they come out as self-leading and able to navigate their own way through a broad and open challenge. It's also brutally competitive. It's one thing to be smart at your high school, but another thing to be in a class of 500 or 1000, and compete with some very smart people where the grade curve is strictly enforced. You could come in having crushed your high school classes, only to have that grade curve eat you alive. And good luck getting the professor to cut you some slack. He's got 500 students to worry about, and is likely more involved in research. The academic and lifestyle pressure of being just an individual in a massive, impersonal, ruthlessly competitive and hard-grading environment makes a lot of people crack. No joke we had a ton of drop-outs, transfers-out, and psychological melt-downs.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 26, 2020 - 1:31am

Reputation-wise, I agree that Cal is well-regarded, but I think the name carries much more weight on the West Coast than the East Coast. To give an example, I attended a competitive high school in the East Coast, and the only college that in my mind was worth applying to on the West Coast was Stanford, which was viewed as on par or as a slight second to Harvard. Back then, I would've perceived Cal as being in the general range of top Southern schools like Vandy, Rice, etc.

If you plan to live on the East Coast, I'd say it's easily Brown. West Coast, either does well, even if your average San Francisco guy thinks of Berkeley more highly. If Asia, Berkeley.

Apr 26, 2020 - 1:38am

It's hard for me to debate what East Coast perceptions are, since I've never lived there. I would not however lump Cal with Vanderbilt or Rice. Those are excellent schools, but that's a whole tier down. Cal is on academic par with Stanford, Harvard Penn, MIT, Oxbridge and Columbia. I wouldn't even lump Cal with NYU, Michigan, UCLA or Cornell. Rankings-wise it's usually #1 globally in every subject, or at least in top 3 in every subject.

Individuals' perceptions of course may vary. In your mind, you might group Cal with Vanderbilt or Rice. I would very much take a differing opinion. We can agree to disagree. In the end, I chose Cal over several Ivies (Columbia, Penn), and a near-full-ride scholarship to CMU.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Apr 26, 2020 - 10:04am

Pick Brown and don't look back. It's the most prestigious option and you get a flexible curriculum and easy grading as a bonus.

You might come out a stoner, but it's worth it. Brown over any of those schools easily.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 26, 2020 - 4:20pm

I second this. Berkeley is great, but not a target for NYC office. Stern is tryhard and the competition is a lot tougher since so many people intern at great places off-cycle. Brown has loyal alumni and you'll stand out over there if you're interested in FO BB

Apr 26, 2020 - 11:46am

I would just reiterate the warning I gave above about Cal. It's an excellent school but it is HARD in every way possible. It's academically punishing, there's a tough grade curve, the stress levels are immense, there's zero hand-holding or frills, and there's no support or guidance. Later in life I attended Penn and the difference between a public school and a private school is immense. In a private school they treat you like a customer. In a public school the state is the customer and you're treated like a cog in the machine.

It sounds like what others on WSO are saying is that Brown is more lax and you get the cachet of a private Ivy League school. And some dude above studied liberal arts and got a Wall Street job. So there you go, there's a way for you to have a nice easy university experience and get into an elite job.

If my son was choosing between these schools, and money was no object, of course I would choose a private school. I would take a private over a public school 9 / 10. Private schools are more pleasant.

My two younger brothers went to top tier private schools and had way more fun and with less stress, and they have a tighter alumni base. Cal has limited alumni support - I think mostly due to its scale. I was constantly looking over my shoulder at the competition, fretting the grade curve, and fighting against the masses for job opportunities. I was afraid to try to switch majors because I might not have been able to get seats in the classes I would need to graduate and Cal kicks you out when you hit a certain number of units. Who needs that kind of stress especially in what are supposed to be the happiest 4 years of your life?

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 26, 2020 - 12:43pm
VP in PE - LBOs:

Nothing stunts your intellectual and emotional development more than studying business in undergrad.

As a student at a top undergrad business school, I have to agree with that statement.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 26, 2020 - 2:24pm

Graduated from Stern, working in BB IB. Agree 100% w the statement above. College at Stern/similar business programs becomes 100% about finding a job. Classes are just about trying to find a way to get an A, not really digesting or learning the material. Even then, most of the classes you take are some bullshit finance class that won't actually be super relevant in your job. Granted, if you know 100% you want to do finance/IB, go to a target undergrad business program. It will set you up 100% to be best prepared for recruiting and an IB job. If you want to go to college to expand your intellectual capacity and take interesting classes or think you might want to do something beyond finance, go elsewhere.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 26, 2020 - 12:56pm

Brown student here- pick Brown 100%. School is pretty easy, lots of fun, and just more laid back than other top schools. I had no issues landing an SA position at a great EB and everyone I know who recruited for IB got an awesome job. Feel free to follow up with questions

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 26, 2020 - 2:16pm

Most people interested in finance do Econ (or Econ jointly with CS or applied math if you are interested in more quant stuff), but you can major in absolutely anything. I know people who have landed in finance with majors like English, history, or pre-med. Pick what interests you and you can still easily get a finance job.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 26, 2020 - 1:42pm

I'm honestly not sure why everyone here is saying Brown.

Pick Stern if you want a top notch business education. Yes it's cut throat but the school places lights out. Plus, you'll be in the city so it's easy to get resume experience. Did I mention that you'll be in the city? NYC is insanely fun.

Pick Cal if you want an unparalleled quant education assuming you got into a quant program. The school is so, so strong in quant fields. Plus, the weather is nice

Pick Brown if you want optionality and to be coddled. You'll probably have a more pleasant experience than the other two, that's certain. Honestly though, IB's not a particularly coddling job.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 26, 2020 - 5:19pm

current Berkeley Haas undergrad -- just wanted to say that the majority of IB/quant exit opps from people that I know are VERY west coast focused and mainly are in tech/healthcare IB groups in SF. if you're positive you want to stay on the east coast it may not be the best call to come here, if i were you i'd probably lean towards Brown

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 27, 2020 - 2:35am

Brown will definitely give you more optionality and it'll be fun so if you're at all unsure of what you want to do, I would go there.

That being said, if you have specific goals in either quant or tech banking on the west coast, Berkeley might be the best choice. I know for a fact that GS TMT SF is pretty much all Berkeley alum from one business frat and Berkeley has strong presence (if not the strongest) at SF branches of MS, JPM, CS, LAZ, Evercore, Centerview. Also engineering/STEM at Berkeley is better than Brown. If you KNOW you want tech banking/quant roles, Berkeley might be better.

  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Apr 27, 2020 - 10:41am
Analyst 1 in IB - Ind:

Brown will definitely give you more optionality and it'll be fun so if you're at all unsure of what you want to do, I would go there.

That being said, if you have specific goals in either quant or tech banking on the west coast, Berkeley might be the best choice. I know for a fact that GS TMT SF is pretty much all Berkeley alum from one business frat and Berkeley has strong presence (if not the strongest) at SF branches of MS, JPM, CS, LAZ, Evercore, Centerview. Also engineering/STEM at Berkeley is better than Brown. If you KNOW you want tech banking/quant roles, Berkeley might be better.

That's true, but it's also magnitudes more difficult from a competition standpoint - much more people want to do banking at Berkeley than Brown

Apr 27, 2020 - 12:59pm

The trouble with Brown is that it is intellectual doormat of the Ivy League and everyone knows it. Attending Brown means telling the world you're too dumb to have gotten into a real Ivy school. But if you're determined to acquire an Ivy degree and want to hang around stupid rich kids, Brown will be a fun, 4-year vacation.

Cal is one of world's great universities. A powerhouse in pretty much everything it does, something that still holds despite decades of financial neglect from state of California. Downsides include huge classes and the city of Berkeley being an absurdly expensive toilet.

Brown is probably a more relaxing place.

  • Prospect in 
Apr 27, 2020 - 2:45pm

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